After losing a considerable amount of weight or after having children, a tummy tuck, also called abdominoplasty, can help you get a smoother, flatter abdominal area. The surgery is definitely helpful for many people who choose it, but it’s not a minimally invasive procedure nor does it have a short and sweet recovery period.
As you recuperate after your tummy tuck, there are a few activities and a few things you’ll want to avoid. Avoiding these things will not only help you recover more easily and reduce the risk for complications, it can also help keep people around you safe. Since you might need to rearrange your schedule for a few weeks after a tummy tuck, it’s a good idea to know what things will be off limits, and for how long, before you decide to have surgery.
Your surgeon is very likely going to give you general anesthesia before the tummy tuck so that you’ll be completely under during the procedure. Even after you wake up afterwards, you’re going to be a bit woozy and out of it from the anesthetic. It’s definitely not a good idea to try and drive yourself home.
If you do go home the same day, you’ll need to have a friend or relative pick you up and take you home. Your friend should also stay with you overnight to make sure you’re OK. If you prefer, you can choose to stay overnight at the surgical center.
Driving is going to be off-limits for some time after your tummy tuck, even after the anesthetic has worn off. If you’re taking pain relievers, you’ll want to wait until you’ve stopped taking them and until your surgeon gives you the all clear. Even if you aren’t taking pain relievers, your may not feel physically up to driving for some time after surgery.
You might need to make some changes to your diet for the first few or so after a tummy tuck. You’re likely to see a fair amount of swelling after surgery, and eating salty foods (think prepared and frozen meals) is not going to help matters. Limiting your salt intake for at least the first week after your tummy tuck is a good idea as it will help with the swelling.
For the most part, exercise is a big no-no for several weeks after a tummy tuck. Any sort of vigorous, aerobic activity needs to be avoided until your surgeon gives you the say-so.
There is one exception to this rule, though. You don’t want to transform into a complete couch potato during your recovery period. Some walking is usually recommended, starting a few days after surgery. You might not be able to move very far or even stand up completely straight during the first few weeks after your tummy tuck, but going for a short walk every few hours is a good idea. It will help improve blood flow and ease the healing process.
Smoking and Drinking
If you were a smoker before your tummy tuck and want to resume that habit afterwards, you should still wait several weeks before doing so. Smoking interferes with blood flow, which can affect the ability of your incisions to heal.
There are a few reasons to hold off on drinking alcohol during the recovery period after your tummy tuck. For one thing, the alcohol can interact with any pain relievers you’re taking. For another, alcohol can thin your blood and interfere with healing. It can also be very dehydrating if you over indulge and don’t drink enough water. Your surgeon will give you an idea of when it will be OK to have a glass of wine or a beer again after your surgery.
Clothing can be tricky after a tummy tuck. You probably had the surgery in part so that you could fit into certain clothes again. But the swelling that occurs right afterwards can make it difficult for you to fit into certain clothes. You also should avoid binding or very uncomfortable clothes right after surgery, as they can irritate your incisions.
Usually, it’s best to stick with loose-fitting and comfy clothes during the first few weeks after a tummy tuck. If you’ll be relaxing at home during the day, loose-fitting pajamas or sweats are fine. If you don’t want any elastic digging into your waist, you can try wearing a flowing and loose house dress.
There is one exception to the tight clothing rule, though. Your surgeon might recommend that you wear a compression garment around the abdominal area after surgery, especially if the tummy tuck was combined with liposuction. The compression garment will help reshape the area.
Pets and Ill People
Right after surgery, you want to keep your risk of infection as low as possible. That can mean avoiding snuggling with your pets and steering clear of anyone with a cold or other illness until you’re back on your feet.
The initial recovery after a tummy tuck usually takes up to two weeks, after which time you can go back to work or other daily activities. Many people are fully back on their feet by the six-week mark and are able to resume full workouts and other previously off-limits activities.
To learn more about what you’ll want to avoid after a tummy tuck and more about the surgery in general, schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul Vitenas, one of Houston’s top plastic surgeons, today. Call 281-484-0088 to book your complementary consultation.